Add longtime educator and Democratic Party activist Jim Jackson‘s name to the growing list of candidates vying for the St. Petersburg District 6 seat being vacated by the term-limited Karl Nurse.
“I feel that I can bring the different parts of the city together,” Jackson explained Monday.
“Downtown is thriving. It may be thriving too much for some people in terms of the rapid growth,” he says, bemoaning the fact that a lot of people would love to live in the downtown area but aren’t doing so because they “can’t afford $4,000 a month rent.”
Jackson is the seventh candidate to enter the race, with more expected in the geographically and demographically wide-ranging district, which begins in Old Northeast, spreads west to 22nd Street, and then south into Midtown and ultimately stretches to Pinellas Point.
The 72-year-old has spent most of his professional life in education, and has run twice for the Pinellas County School Board, losing bids in 2010 and 2012. Although he acknowledges that education is not in the bailiwick of the Council, he believes it’s critical that the most troubled schools in St. Pete need to be turned around.
“There are all kinds of reasons why the schools in South St Pete are not doing as well as they should,” says, adding that nobody has come truly up with a sufficient answer to address the five failing schools in South St. Petersburg that were featured in a Tampa Bay Times investigation a year ago.
Jackson works as an adjunct progress at St. Pete College and USFSP. He previously taught at Miami-Dade College and Florida International University, but may be best known to some locals for his work as a Democratic Party activist, where he’s worked on numerous campaigns (including for some members of the current council). He was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.
While stating that he hopes the Tampa Bay Rays stay in St. Petersburg, he admits he’s not sold on Mayor Rick Kriseman‘s plan to lure the team to stay right where they are at a redeveloped Tropicana Field is the answer to the team’s wanderlust. And he’s adamant that if Rays owner Stu Sternberg decides to stay in St. Pete, that no taxpayer dollars expended in building him a stadium.
On the Pier, he questions the escalating price tag for the project and openly wishes that those funds could be transferred to more needed parts of the city’s budget. Last week the City Council approved borrowing tens of millions of additional dollars to build the new Pier.
The other candidates running for the District 6 seat include Corey Givens, Jr., Maria Scruggs, Sharon Russ, John Johnson, Akile Cainion and Justin Bean.